Google is finally addressing a big gap of its 2FA (two-factor authentication) code app by adding sync capabilities, with Google Authenticator also getting a new icon on Android and iOS today. This will make “one time codes more durable by storing them safely in users’ Google Account.”
The app dates back to 2010 and sparingly gets updates. Google is specifically adding the “ability to safely backup your one-time codes (also known as one-time passwords or OTPs) to your Google Account.”
This change means users are better protected from lockout and that services can rely on users retaining access, increasing both convenience and security.
This has been a “major piece of feedback,” especially when setting up new or lost devices: “Since one time codes in Authenticator were only stored on a single device, a loss of that device meant that users lost their ability to sign in to any service on which they’d set up 2FA using Authenticator.”
You can continue to use Authenticator without a Google Account/sync capabilities.
The new icon is in the four Google colors with triangles making up an asterisk symbol. It replaces the old circular icon with a ‘G’ that was meant to evoke a vault. There are also some tweaks to the app design, but it’s not Material 3 yet on Android.
This update joins the Google Password Manager built-in to Android and Chrome, which has gotten more prominent visibility, as well as the company’s work on passkeys to eventually replace usernames and passwords.
Google Authenticator’s sync update and new logo are still rolling out on Android (version 6.0) and iOS (version 4.0, App Store changelog below). After installing the new version, there will be a set-up process.
- Cloud syncing: Your Authenticator codes can now be synced to your Google Account and across your devices, so you can always access them even if you lose your phone.
- New icon and illustrations: The app has been updated with a new icon and illustrations that are more modern and user-friendly
- Improved UX and visuals: We’ve made the app easier to use and more visually appealing
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